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Nadhim Zahawi thanks pharmacies for administering over 5m COVID jabs

Mr Zahawi received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a south-east London pharmacy in March
Mr Zahawi received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a south-east London pharmacy in March

The COVID-19 vaccination minister has paid special thanks to more than 500 community pharmacies that have administered more than five million vaccinations in England.

Announcing the milestone yesterday (June 3), Nadhim Zahawi thanked pharmacy staff and volunteers for their “fantastic effort” as part of the 66 million jabs already given, “including my own vaccination at [an] Avicenna pharmacy in Lewisham”, south-east London.

When Mr Zahawi received his first dose at the end of March, pharmacist Salim Jetha told C+D the appointment “endorses pharmacy as a frontline profession”.

Meanwhile, pharmacy minister Jo Churchill described the milestone as “tremendous news on top of pharmacies delivering record flu jabs earlier in the year, demonstrating how trusted our pharmacy teams are by their communities to help look after their health”.

Similarly, Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and Ed Waller, director for primary care for NHSE&I, gave “particular thanks” to the 500 community pharmacy vaccine sites.

As of May 28, there are 524 pharmacy-led vaccination sites in England.

Mr Zahawi’s announcement was received warmly by the pharmacy sector. Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies, tweeted: “This showcases the dedication and hard work by pharmacy teams, not just during [the] pandemic, but consistently.

“This is just one of many reasons why the government should believe in community pharmacy and support it,” Dr Hannbeck added.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society described the milestone as the result of a “massive effort” from community pharmacy, while the North of Tyne local pharmaceutical committee paid particular thanks to local pharmacies “which have stepped up to the mark to support the delivery of COVID vaccinations”.

How do you feel about community pharmacy reaching this milestone?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Pharmacies should be able to give more routine medication administration.

M. Rx(n), Student

Now let's carry this into funding negotiations, sort out practical and sustainable payment for CORE Pharmacy services.
And then let's demand better standards from the system as a whole - including better contingencies for the unexpected.

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